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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Mixed Progress under the Automatic/Systematic Declassification Review Program

James David
The American Archivist
Vol. 70, No. 2 (Fall - Winter, 2007), pp. 219-251
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40294570
Page Count: 33
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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Mixed Progress under the Automatic/Systematic Declassification Review Program
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Abstract

Executive Order (E. O.) 12958, signed by President William Clinton in April 1995, dramatically changed the declassification procedure for executive branch records. 1 It created for the first time a process to open quickly huge numbers of records dating to World War II. The program has enjoyed mixed success. Many records locked away in vaults for years are finally being reviewed, and, overall, a fairly large percentage of them are actually being declassified. Many high-level documents, however, have been exempted from the process, and major problems hamper public access to the records actually declassified.

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